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1972 West Side Association of Commerce Medal (GOLD; New York Times/Pentagon Papers Connection!)
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $420
Rare West Side Award medal presented to Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisher and CEO of The New York Times, by the West Side Association of Commerce, Inc., in 1972. The front of the medal (2 inches in diameter) features a cityscape of New York's West Side and is lettered "West Side Association of Commerce, Inc./West Side Award." The reverse bears the engraved lettering: "Presented to/Arthur Ochs Sulzberger/1972/In Recognition/of/Distinguished Service/To The/Nation." The medal is in apparent Near Mint condition and is housed in a circular encasement of Lucite (3 inches in diameter, 1-inch thick). The West Side Association of Commerce award, according to our research, was presented annually beginning in 1949. This is the first example we have ever offered and from research we have located two others, one of which was presented to James H. Doolittle in 1953 and currently resides in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. In searching online, the only detailed information we could find about the medal comes from an introduction to The West Side Award. a Ten-Year History 1948 - 1958, written by Harry T. Egert, president of the West Side Association of Commerce, and published by the Association in 1958 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the award: "As a fitting celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the West Side Association of Commerce, Its Board of Directors in 1949 established the West Side Award. The announced purpose of the Award, consisting of a solid gold medal and a citation, was to do honor to the person or persons who had made outstanding contributions to the welfare of the people of this Nation and the City of New York. In the intervening ten years 21 distinguished Americans have been the recipients of this Award, and, in addition, Certificates of Distinguished Service have been presented to four other prominent persons. In order that the Award may fully perform its intended service, and so that the American public may have greater knowledge of the unselfish and commendable acts of these 25 individuals, the Association has authorized the publication and distribution of this volume on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the West Side Award." Because we have no way of examining the offered medal outside of the Lucite in which it resides, we have no way to test and verify that it is solid gold; however, that is a very reasonable assumption given that the other awards we found were produced in that manner. Sulzberger was almost certainly presented this award because of his decision to publish the controversial "Pentagon Papers" in the New York Times in 1971, which revealed that the Johnson administration had routinely lied to both the public and congress regarding the war in Vietnam. Sulzberg was publisher and CEO of the New York Times from 1963 until 1997 and is credited with not only expanding the paper from two to four daily sections, but also for taking the company public in 1969. He passed away in 2012 at the age of eighty-six. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $420
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